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The Club Beat with DJ Patrick

October 8, 2009
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DJ Patrick is perhaps one of the most unsung heroes of Baltimore club music’s early days. Just about any DJ that was active in the the late ’80s and early ’90s is likely to name-check him, but he’s rarely received much press coverage himself. So when I finally got to track down the local legend at his Grove Park home, after getting in touch via longtime associate Jonny Blaze, I wasn’t surprised to hear that Patrick feels a bit slighted. “I don’t get my credit that I deserve,” says the man who once named a mix CD series Baltimore’s Most Hated DJ. “I don’t gripe over it, I just let my work show for itself.”

In fact, DJ Patrick was deep in club music before it was even called that. “They used to call it ‘knucklehead music,’ then club music,” he says. “The name started changing, because it wasn’t gettin’ no radio play, it was all in the club.”

Patrick, 38, was one of the instrumental figures in the transition from Baltimore DJs playing house records from out of town to making their own, with their own hooks and vocals. “We was playin’ techno breaks,” he recalls. “More and more I got familiar with production, I started to venture out to more sounds. I was putting my own vocals [on the tracks].”

In the mid-’90s, when Baltimore club producers started pressing their own records, Patrick’s label, Quiet Records, emerged right behind Unruly Records, and helped push the nascent sound into a profitable business. “Club music, it’s like its own industry, we run it different from the regular record companies,” he says, noting that even before the internet, early leaks and test copies for DJs were the norm. “I might do a song, and next thing you know it’d be out on the streets in 24 hours. Even back then, before songs even got to vinyl, we used to have it on tape or reel, we used to play it in the club. Back in the ’90s we had a pitch-controlled tape deck, and we had pitch-controlled reel-to-reel, just to test the song out.”

Even though DJ Patrick helped set the standard in Baltimore club that producers were most often the featured vocalists on their own tracks, he has other ideas about where the club business is headed in the future. “Our goal now is for local artists who can sing or whatever they do, we’re tryin’ to do albums for %u2018em,” he says, “and work the albums like we’re an actual major label, but we’re an independent.”

Currently, he and a stable of other Quiet Records beatmakers such as K.W. Griff and Jonny Blaze are working up tracks for singers and rappers, but Patrick says it’s hard to find young marketable artists who are willing to put in the work to make it in the club scene. “They don’t take the music seriously like the producers.”

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